Teen accused of gran's murder to be detained in secure mental health unit

Vera Croghan, aged 89, who died in a fire at her home on Unthank Road Norwich

Vera Croghan, 89, who died in a fire at her Norwich Unthank Road home. - Credit: East Anglia News Service

A teen accused of the murder of his grandmother and attempted murder of his father following a house fire in Norwich is to be detained at a secure mental health unit.

Vera Croghan, 89, died following a blaze at her home on Unthank Road.

Forensics teams are continuing to investigate a fatal house fire in Unthank Road in Norwich.

Emergency services at the scene following a fatal house fire in Unthank Road, Norwich in December last year - Credit: Archant

Four fire crews were initially sent to the scene at around 6.40am on December 11 last year. 

Police were also called but, at around 7am, the body of Mrs Croghan was discovered inside the property. 

Police and crime experts investigate the fire that killed grandmother Vera Croghan

Police and scenes of crime experts investigate the Unthank Road house fire that killed grandmother Vera Croghan. - Credit: East Anglia News Service

Chanatorn Croghan, 19, of Northside, Norwich, has been charged with murder and appeared at Norwich Crown Court on Thursday afternoon (May 27) for a preliminary hearing.

He had initially appeared before city magistrates in the morning.

The teenager, who appeared via videolink from Wymondham Police Investigation Centre (PIC), has also been charged with the attempted murder of Richard Croghan, the victim's son and father of the accused, and of arson.

He spoke only to confirm his name during the short hearing.

The court heard Croghan suffers from a mental disorder, namely paranoid schizophrenia.

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It was agreed he would be detained at Northside House, a secure mental health unit, until a further hearing at the crown court on June 18.

Mauro Maselli, representing Croghan, said fitness to plead was an issue that was to be explored by the defence.

Judge Anthony Bate set a plea and trial preparation hearing (PTPH) at the crown court on July 16.

As previously reported Mrs Croghan had lived at the house for almost six decades and was later was described by a friend as a "lovely lady".

Vera Croghan, 89, who died in a house fire on Unthank Road in Norwich

Vera Croghan, 89, who died in a house fire on Unthank Road in Norwich - Credit: The Croghan Family

Mrs Croghan hailed from Sweden and taught at the University of East Anglia (UEA) for more than 30 years.

In a tribute, members of her family said: "Vera was a much-loved mum of four and grandmother of 10.

"She was a well-known and highly respected academic and was the author of the best-selling 'Teach Yourself Swedish' book.

"She dearly loved Norwich and the local area and loved the house that she had lived in continuously for 57 years.

"She loved baking cakes from traditional Swedish recipes, often involving cardamom and cinnamon."

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